So Paper Mario: Color Splash was just revealed. Lots of people hate it already because it looks like Sticker Star, while others say it's looking a lot more promising. I hate to say it, but these optimistic folks are probably wrong. Color Splash might prove to be better than Sticker Star, but it sure does look a lot like it! I think a lot of fans are kidding themselves by hoping it's going to turn out differently. All signs point to this game being, essentially, a Sticker Star sequel. To walk you through why I think this, I rented out GameXplain's Old Analysis Machine™ and have run the short amount of footage through it. It's true we've barely seen any of the game (so it's not right to make a final judgement about its quality) but there is a surprising amount of information to be gained.
Let's start off at the beginning:
In this picture here we see a (gorgeous) run-of-the-mill Paper Mario level. But what's this? In the upper left corner is the silhouette of Mario's new paint hammer with three color meters. Those are going to be very important later on.
In this picture we see Mario winding up to smash this colorless flower with paint. Keep an eye on the blue paint meter. Also, in the background is the classic Paper Mario save block and what I can say with 99.9% certainty is a shop that sells cards. This will also be very important in a moment.
Mario splooshes the flower with blue paint and his blue paint meter goes down. But what happens when something isn't colored red, blue, or yellow? Well...
Here, Mario uses green to color in these plants by using both blue and yellow paint. The paint meter now is also maxed out at 150 instead of 100, so you'll probably be upgrading this along with your health. Sorry to say it, but there's no evidence of experience points anywhere. There is also a big red star shining in the background on the top of that building and I have no idea what it does. Maybe upgrades your red paint?
Now, about those cards...
It looks like they'll have the same functionality as stickers. This card, with three boots on it, popped out of a block when Mario hit it.
This is definitely an attack card. It allows Mario to perform three weak jumping attacks.
Just like stickers, cards are everywhere. This hammer card appeared after Mario colored the ground. They can also be bought from shops like the one I pointed out earlier. In Sticker Star, stickers were stuck to things, and in Color Splash they'll appear when you color things. Seems like the only reason coloring exists is to justify cards lying around everywhere so you always have attacks. I am just about completely certain you'll keep them in a card album on the gamepad screen. There's probably even different types of cards like holofoils.
So how does combat work? It's similar to Sticker Star, but with a few tweaks.
This shot shows Mario's turn in a battle. At this point he has one card slot. Like Sticker Star, you can probably get more slots over the course of the game to line up attacks. The cards are selected on the gamepad, and it looks like this:
In Sticker Star you'd select from among your stickers, but in this game the cards need to be colored before they can be activated which uses paint. This hammer card only uses yellow paint, but I'm sure some cards will use multiple types of paint. So not only do you have to manage cards but you also have to manage your paint usage.
You flick the card from the gamepad when you're done coloring it and it flies to the upper left corner...
then you fight!
It looks like "sling a thing" returning as well, if this giant realistic desk fan is any indication. Of course, you'd sling them into cards instead of stickers.
Now, I'm not sure if this is a significant detail of if it's still a thing because the world is all paper, but Mario can still pull stickers off of things. I don't anticipate stickers to play a role in the game's combat, but it looks like they remain in some capacity.
You might still be holding out hope because, after all, this is only one minute of footage and there's been barely any details. There still could be partner characters and cool hub towns! Well...
See this paint bucket guy? I'm pretty sure he'll be your only companion. I mean it's possible that's not the case, but it probably is. Maybe there's a bunch of floating paint supplies! Wouldn't that be exciting? (answer: no) The fact that this thing exists means either that it's the tutorial character that explains painting to you, or that the game gives you paint-centric sidekicks. It's probably the first one because Mr. Bucket was never shown in a combat sequence, but I personally wouldn't be too excited either way.
Also, there's this:
That's just straight up the Sticker Star world map. It's even got completion percentages and hidden stars to find. It doesn't have a world number, though, so maybe it's more interconnected than last time? The pacing certainly doesn't look like traditional Paper Mario, in any case.
So there you have it. If you were a big fan of Sticker Star (do those people exist?) then you'll probably love Color Splash. If you hated that game, I'm sorry to disappoint you but this looks looks like more of the same. I suppose it's possible that, given more information, the game will turn out not to be a Sticker Star sequel. But it all signs point it! Personally, I liked Sticker Star well enough but I'd much rather have a traditional RPG. I honestly don't see why the two things can't coexist.
I do wonder though, if we buy this to support the series so maybe one day they'll make the game we want, does it give Nintendo the idea that we enjoy this more simplistic style? And if we don't buy it as an act of defiance, do we run the risk the series fading away due to lack of interest? I feel like it's a no-win situation. I respect that Nintendo and its partners make the games they want to make, but lately they seem very out of touch with fans.